All companies should be ensuring, even if they have their own separate Discipline & Grievance policy and processes, that they comply with the current Acas Code of Practice on Discipline & Grievance Procedures.
Acas have just updated their Code of Practice and the new 2015 Code of Practice 1 is now in force.
For readers interested in the detail, the change relates to an EAT judgement in Toal v GB Oils (read our summary here). In this case it was established that that an employee has an absolute right to request their choice of trade union representative or workplace colleague to accompany them, provided the request to be accompanied is itself reasonable. The ‘reasonableness’ requirement does not apply to the precise choice of companion, provided they fall within the statutory categories.
We regularly advice our clients to ensure their own company policies and processes are updated. Most company processes, including discipline and grievance processes, are based on employment law and the correct processes at the time they are drafted. However, employment law is constantly changing, which means that what is good practice today, may not be tomorrow. Much of this change is created by judgements at employment tribunals – which tend not to come with the promotion and fan fare of new legislation.
We know it’s hard for small business owners to keep up to speed with the fine points of employment law and practice. If you have a disciplinary or grievance issue, or formal meeting where the employee has the statutory right to be accompanied, don’t make a mistake – talk to us about your processes, practices, of management of the situation. Ring us at the office on 0845 463 323 – if you’re wondering what we’re like, find out what other small local businesses think of us right here.